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I came across this name recently and triggered the memory that I have heard of them previously. So I decided to revisit them via the great Encyclopaedia Metallum. Hmm..Industrial Death Metal. Somewhat of a sketchy arena. Let's see what else is here. Swedish. Check. Anti-Christian. Check. Alright, we're off to a seemingly decent start. Currently unsigned...that doesn't really lean more towards one way or the other. Continue to scroll down. Members or ex-members of Entombed, Dark Funeral, Death Breath, Vomitory. Okay, the personnel is pretty good. Onward to the releases and reviews part of the band page. Couple of demos. Eight full lengths in a matter of 11 years (not all that shocking). However the ratings are rather high at 80% or greater even with two or three reviews per album.
By this time, I'm thinking "Did I pass by something that was really good?" So, I got a hold of their most recent album, The Lustrate Process. Now, in the archives, this has an average rating of 96% on the basis of two reviews. When you read this type of statistic before reading the actual review, it usually piques your imagination into thinking that this is a (black) shining (leather) example of the chosen genre of the band. You know, industrial death metal: Possibly pulsing but definitely fast, mechanical drums with a thunderous presence. Guitars that shred your face as if thrown into a giant blender set to Liquefy. Bass lines that move the Earth along with your bowels, involuntarily, of course. Possibly filtered vocals. Keyboards. All things I could deal with if they are well done.
As a side note, this thing is full of guest musicians. Some you may know like Martin Van Drunen and Johan Hegg. You might know them by name. But on this record, you can't tell them apart from just another guy with a gruff voice. They're not piercing, unlike Nemtheagna of Primordial fame (find a drummer fast, boys!). A few guest six-stringers for solos...oh, and multi-headed, multi-limbed Dan Swano lends production duties. Alas...
...For any one whom also looks for these things in this sub-categorized sub-genre, they are scarce. Very scarce indeed. From what I've read, they switched to real drums on the album prior to this one and continue to use them here. Maybe this is part of the problem. If I had heard some of their earlier stuff I could make a better determination, but as it stands the drums on display here are very unmoving. Very basic, not mechanical whatsoever, and I don't know what Swano was swamoking at the time but they lack any conceivable notion of 'thunderous presence.' There are sections where a more 'industrial' (read: Techno) beat is established but without any interesting textures (only boring piano) to detract from that unnatural sound and it is merely book-ended by vocals (more on that later). Can somebody please show Lord K. exactly what a bass does? Thank you.
The guitars, on the blender, are set at Fold where the riffs sorta droop over one another having no sharp edges or throat-grabbing aesthetic. There are a number of solos, provided by members of Torchbearer among others, but it's like they were planned out well in advance rather than having them erupt from the black nothingness to the forefront with sickening agility. And even though the drums are not world-swallowing, the high notes are still somewhat buried and not at all prominent in the mix. And, maybe I'm biased, but everything seems dumbed down in order to spotlight another boring female soprano singer in metal. Rejoice! Bitches can sing.
At the end of this listening experience, I don't think this deserves anything close to 100, 90 or even 80%. There is nothing of substance here. Certainly nothing new or groundbreaking. Nothing that even upholds the idea of 'industrial' death metal. It is a very clean, very safe, basic death record that is destroyed even further with boring drums (human vs. non-human element is still up for debate), lackluster guitar work, guest vocalists overshadowed and undermined by a championed female vocalist, and a generally non-existent bass guitar. The keyboards are too subtle and, if they were louder, would be nothing worth mentioning. Perhaps, the tank is empty for the Project Hate. Perhaps they need to get reacquainted with the speed and precision of machinery. Perhaps they need to take a long hard look at their latest output and make some changes.
Let me start out by saying this is a fucking great album. If you're a fan of metal in general, it's a must-listen. This band is probably one of the most unique I've heard in my long life of metal, and that's saying quite a lot.
I'll start right off the bat with the lyrical themes. If you're Christian or hold religion in high regard, you should look elsewhere. I feel as if this album isn't quite as anti-theistic as The Project Hate's other albums. A recurring theme is "possession", "my soul", and "darkness". It's kind of emo (not quite), but it's really just a darker side of not-quite-anti-theistic death metal. That's not to say it's bad, but it seems like it deals more with personal problems than the other albums do.
When I first heard this album, I was immediately hooked by the great intro riffs to "Descend Into the Eternal Pits". One thing that I value most in metal is the skill a band has to involve many instruments and still have a song. This is definitely the case for the band. They've got a synth popping up every so often, but just enough in the background to not overwhelm the guitars, some industrial beats which show up mainly during the vocalist portions, and some neat effects as segues into different parts of a song.
This brings me to my main gripe. Some of the songs are just too damn long. Sure, I love long songs, but there's long, and then there's "will this song ever end?" "Descend Into the Eternal Pits" is one of these songs, despite being one of my favorite. It has a great start and a fucking awesome end, but the intermediate portion changes too much, as if it doesn't want to be part of the same song; even the vocals change to a mix of growl and pained yelling. This only lasts for half of a minute or so, which is short in comparison to the song, until it snaps right back into place with death growls and heavy riffs. If the songs were somewhere between half and two-thirds the length they are now, that bridge portion could be done away with completely.
The other problem I have with the album is that the songs don't really flow together as well as they could. It plays more like a compilation of great songs than an album meant to be played from start to finish. It's kind of the same deal as with the different parts of the individual songs: some of the tracks feel out of place on the album because of some nuance, such as overly-ethereal female vocals on "Arise to His World of Infamy". This isn't bad per se, it's just slightly out of place.
All-in-all, this is a great album full of mind-blowing tracks. The female vocals fit in quite very well with the harsh death growls, and the industrial beats that pop up every so often are great in combination with the "real" instruments. If you're into death metal, or into power or otherwise female-fronted metal and want to get into the heavier side, this is a great album to turn to.
Something I must say about The Project hate is the way this band has evolved. While there are many "heretic-antichristian" bands out there, TPH stands as one of the most creative and interesting. Their sound has become darker and hellisher, the bass is clearer, vocals are heavier and more beautiful than ever before. And they kick more christian asses too!
Having said that, let's start the review.
This album starts with an interesting bass line that somehow sounds nü-metalish. But soon you'll realize that was just a thing to distract you from what's about to begin. The first song is the longest in this album, with a great industrial break in the middle and another great one just in the end. They seemed to have changed the tunning for guitars and bass as they both sound more powerful.
In the second song you'll notice something new, interesting and weird. Clean male vocals!!! They were performed by Christian Älvestam, better known for his work in Scar Simmetry. Jonna's vocals are more charming than ever, I can't stop trying to sing along her...
Even songs are pretty long for a death metal band they stand ouf from each other, and they complement each other, too. Industrial breaks is the difference between a boring song a kick-ass one, one of the things fans of this band should be used to. In track 3 for example, there's a break with just bass, piano and drums, then Jonna's voice comes in and everything sounds like freaking paradise (if there is a paradise in hell!!!). Track 5 is also full of interesting vocals, some desperate, some infernal, some angelical/diabolical.
The final song is th best one in this album, adding an apocalyptic feeling to it. Seriously, it is epic, it is how Apocalypse should (and will) sound. I better stop listening to this at nights, because I can't sleep of the excitement their music gives me.
They have some really special guests besides Christian. Mike Wead who has played for Mercyful Fate, Candlemass and King Diamond brings some nice solos to this peace of heretic argh. I mean, art. Martin van Drunen who has sung for Bolt Thrower and Pestilence brings some yells to this infernal shit. L. G. Petrov who's Entombed's voice is also here. Though they haven't seemed to match another guest list as the one in Armageddon March Eternal with tons of backing vocals, now they don't need that many to make it sound infernal as hell can get.
They've focused more in guitars, and bass. Jonna has improves his singing even more. Jörgen is the Devil incarnated. Lord K. definetily wrote some of the best heretic shit and added that great feeling to bass again. Both new guitarist and drum player are doing a hell of a good work here.
Their 7th masterpiece and killing angels, burning souls and insulting Jesus-Fucking-Christ doesn't seem to end!!! Hopefully it will never end!!! Oh yeah in this could have been a 100 score but the album is too damn short to be perfect (64 minutes... At least they could have used 66... Or more than 7 songs...).
Thank you The Project Hate. Thank you for giving us the pleasure of your music.